Tom English

BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

Analysis and opinion from BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

About Tom

Tom is BBC Scotland's chief sports writer. He is a... Read more about Tom English six-time winner of the Scottish feature writer of the year award and has twice won Rugby Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards. His columns and radio documentaries have been short-listed for media prizes in Scotland and the UK.

He has been a sports journalist for 25 years, the highlight being an afternoon spent with former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. He joined BBC Scotland in 2014 and writes and broadcasts on many different sports.

Referee Willie Collum sends off Kilmarnock's Gary Dicker

Clubs blame SFA when IFAB is the real culprit

Read full article on SFA disciplinary: IFAB the real culprit as clubs rail against system

When Brendan Rodgers had a go at referee Andrew Dallas and his assistants after Olivier Ntcham was sent off in Celtic's 0-0 draw against St Mirren on Friday there was nothing surer but that the manager's words were going to dominate the back pages the next day.

Some headlines from Saturday morning: 'Bren: Ref had howler'; 'Rodgers is seething at officials'; 'Rodgers has a pop'.

Hampden Stadium

'Where is the grand plan & finance to redevelop Hampden?'

Read full article on Hampden: 'Where is the grand plan & finance to redevelop the national stadium?'

In announcing the news of Hampden's survival as the home of Scottish football, Ian Maxwell, the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, called it a great day for the game in the country.

Maybe he was being a little presumptuous. Many will indeed see it as good news, and many others will see it as bad news. A great day? It depends who you're talking to.

Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers at Celtic Park

'Celtic flex muscle to remind Rangers that rebuild has some way to go'

Read full article on 'Celtic flex muscle to remind Rangers that rebuild has some way to go'

If Steven Gerrard went into his job at Rangers with his eyes wide open he would have been forgiven at various times on Sunday had his eyes shut tight such was the pummelling his team took at Celtic Park.

In his storied football career Gerrard has seen most things, but standing helpless on the sideline as his club threatened to succumb to the kind of defeat he hoped they had left behind can't have been a pleasant experience.

Hamish Watson makes a break

'New-look Edinburgh utterly transformed'

Read full article on New Zealander Simon Hickey spearheads 'utterly transformed' Edinburgh

If you look at the betting for the Pro14, the experts have Leinster as understandable favourites to retain their title. Leinster were, and still are, an awesome force. Champions of the league, champions of Europe and in the case of a dozen of their Test players, Six Nations and Grand Slam champions to boot. The target on their back is so big that even Mr Magoo couldn't miss it.

Scarlets are considered second-favourites, which is odd given that they have lost Scotland captain John Barclay to Edinburgh, Pro14 player of the season Tadhg Beirne to Munster and brilliant Wales centre Scott Williams to Ospreys. Munster are third-favourites - with fly-half Joey Carbery and Beirne added to their mix, that's fair enough - and Glasgow are fourth, a show of faith in the post-Finn Russell era as Scotland's maverick pivot begins life in France with Racing 92.

Jean van de Velde in the Barry Burn on the 18th hole during the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie

Carnoustie's 18th - The Open's scariest hole?

Read full article on The Open 2018: Carnoustie's 18th - the scariest hole in Open history?

When you ask a golfer - or in this case 14 golfers - to pick the toughest Open Championship hole of them all, you tend to be greeted in one of two ways - an immediate response borne out of bitter experience and delivered with a grimace and normally accompanied by some agricultural language or, alternatively, a long pause as the player churns over the options in his head while the blood slowly drains from his face.

During last week's Scottish Open at Gullane, we lined up a stellar panel of men who have been there and done it. From Ernie Els, winner at Muirfield and Lytham, to Padraig Harrington, winner at Carnoustie and Birkdale, to Darren Clarke, winner at Royal St George's, and onwards to Rickie Fowler, runner-up at Hoylake and Lee Westwood, runner-up at St Andrews.

Scotland's Stuart Hogg and Stuart McInally celebrate against Argentina

'Scots claw back reputations against Pumas'

Read full article on Argentina 15-44 Scotland: Reputations clawed back against toothless Pumas

There were some lovely moments in the wake of Scotland's eye-popping Test against Argentina where the passive and pathetic Pumas did their best to live up to the nickname of the place where the game was staged - Resistencia, the city of sculptures.

After the last whistle confirmed that Scotland had just recorded their biggest-ever margin of victory, 29 points, against a top nation in their own country, local fans, many of them them young kids, crowded in on the visiting players and asked for souvenirs. In fairness to them, off the field as well as on, Scotland delivered.

Mark Bennett

Bennett continues search for old self

Read full article on Mark Bennett: Scotland centre on long road back after struggles with injury and motivation

It's weird the things that trouble sportspeople when they're injured. Simple things. Earlier this month, Scotland captain John Barclay spoke about the challenges of getting a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the couch while on crutches as if it should be an Olympic sport.

On Tuesday here in Resistencia in northern Argentina, Mark Bennett sang a similar tune. From March 2017 to January 2018 he was out injured with a torn ACL and a torn bicep sustained in a brief cameo on a dark day at Twickenham.

Vern Cotter

Cotter's back and gunning for Edinburgh

Read full article on Heineken Champions Cup: Vern Cotter is back and gunning for Edinburgh

The last time Vern Cotter was at Murrayfield he was serenaded out of the place after drinking in the appreciation of the home crowd on his last day as Scotland coach. And now he's going back there.

The draw for next season's Heineken Champions Cup, mercifully featuring two Scottish teams as opposed to the one that has become the norm in recent years, has pitted Cotter's (and Nathan Hines') Montpellier against Richard Cockerill's Edinburgh. What a clash of the coaching coots that's going to be.

Stuart Hogg

Captain Hogg 'nervous and buzzing'

Read full article on Stuart Hogg: Scotland captain 'nervous and buzzing' to be leading side in USA

When Gregor Townsend called Stuart Hogg a few weeks back and told him that he was going to captain Scotland against the United States the full-back's first emotion was one of shock. He was actually stunned into silence. "Gregor had to ask if I was still on the phone," explained Hogg.

For a player of Hogg's experience and excellence getting a shot at captaincy would seem like a no-brainer, but he was genuinely surprised. Saturday night in Houston will be the 25-year-old's 61st cap but it's the first time he's led a team from the front since he was cutting about as a much talked-about teenager.

Danny Wilson is joining Scotland's coaching set-up

Scotland lure prompts U-turn for Wilson

Read full article on Danny Wilson: Scotland lure prompts U-turn for innovative coach

When Danny Wilson officially becomes Scotland's new forwards coach - an announcement should come next week - Gregor Townsend will be getting a guy who is held in such esteem at his previous job as head coach of Cardiff Blues that they're still practically mopping up the tears from the streets around the Arms Park after his exit.

Wilson coached Cardiff to victory in the European Challenge Cup final last month, a come-from-behind thriller against Gloucester in Bilbao that finished off his three seasons with the region in style.